Bedding Guide

Bedding Buying Guide

DOWNLITE manufacturers down and down alternative bedding used in private label and branded programs for the best department stores and catalogs in the country. In addition, our down bedding is used in thousands of hotels and resorts in the United States. The information below addresses many common questions we get. If you still need help email us at or give us a call/chat Sunday-Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM EST.

Down Versus Down Alternatives?

Down bedding is the gold standard for comfort. But not everyone wants down filled bedding, whether it be allergies or the expense. Aside from being the absolute experts in down bedding – we make some of the best down alternatives in the world. Because we make so many styles of down alternative fillings – the guide below talks about our main down alternative fillings.

If you have allergy issues or are buying bedding for your family or house guests we recommend PrimaLoft – which is a luxury Down Alternative filling material. Not only does PrimaLoft mimic the hand and feel of down filling but it keeps a warmth level equivalent to a 550-600 fill power white goose down. PrimaLoft also has a permanent antimicrobial treatment in the fibers that will not wash out. PrimaLoft is used in bed pillows, comforters, mattress pads, pillow forms and on occasion fiber beds (soft beds).

Here is a summary of the various fibers we offer for down alternative solutions. Down Alternatives – at least for DOWNLITE are ‘loose blown’ – which means the fibers can move around inside the article of bedding.  This movability mimics the properties of down. Additionally, all down alternatives we make are machine washable and dryable. This compares to the style of fibers we call Garneted – which is a process of taking loose fibers and weaving them into a batting which is looped into a bun and places inside a pillow. The blanket or comforter version would be what we called a ‘batt’.

Polyesters can be made in all sorts of ways from the size of the fiber (denier) to whether it is single or multi hollow core – even topical treatments to make the fibers click can vary greatly.

  • PrimaLoft – A Microfiber blend which is silky smooth, and features a permanent Antimicrobial treatment in the fiber that won’t wash out. PrimaLoft is offered into two sub groups based on the product usage. PrimaLoft in general is comparable to the fill power of a 550-600 fill power White Goose Down. PrimaLoft is hydrophobic – which is a fancy way of saying it does not absorb water – thus it is easier and quicker to dry in the home dryer. Used in all products from pillows, comforters, blankets and even fiber beds. Of note PrimaLoft in the apparel world comes in several sub blends and they do not directly correspond to the home bedding side.
  • EnviroLoft – This fiber features a higher denier which means it has a thicker strand of polyester. The thicker fibers offer added support and rigidity. Used in many hospitality applications due to its durability and price point. Used in all products from pillows, comforters, blankets even fiber beds.
  • MicroLoft – This fiber uses a dense microfiber which is very slick feeling and offers a noticeable unique hand (Very squishy). Used only in bed pillows.
  • OptiLuxe – This fiber blend mimics the features of memory fiber bedding. Unlike memory foam – this polyester can be machine washed. Used in select Sealy Posturepedic and Optimum bedding items. Used only in bed pillows.
  • LiquiLoft – Similar to MicroLoft – this fiber has a dense feeling which offers a contouring feeling. Used only in bed pillows.
  • Cluster Fiber – A fiber that is made into balls and offers excellent durability and volume.  Used in many hotel items. Used only in bed pillows.
  • Suprelle – A special fiber that mimics the properties of Memory Foam bedding. It has a special polyester blend that requires home care using Dryell. Used only in bed pillows and some mattress pads.

Buying The Perfect Pillow

As a company we make hundreds of pillow styles and if you have ever been to a bed and bath store you have seen 40-50 styles for sale.  Suffice it to say – it can be confusing to know what is best for your needs. So let’s start with your sleeping style – when you wake up in the morning are you on your back, side or sleeping face down?

If you wake up on your side, congratulations – you’re like 50% of the population. The side sleeper position is best suited for a firmer density pillow. The firmer density keeps your head and neck from going too low near your shoulder blade. We make pillows labeled as side sleepers or firm – look for either style.

If you wake up on your back you are similar to 25% of the population. For this sleeping position a medium density pillow is preferred so that you get just enough support but not too much that your head/neck are pushed uncomfortably forward.

Finally, if you wake up face down (your shoulders are angled down more than sideways) you are in the final group of 25% of all sleepers. For this sleep position you want a pillow that is soft density so that your breathing area is not obstructed. The good news is that this style pillow also runs lower in price because less filling is required.

Generally we suggest jumbo size pillows measuring 20 x 28 inches as they are not so big that the filling has too much room to get squished down. Whatever your budget allows for, remember that you head is going to be comforted by this pillow 6-8 hours a day, 365 days a year for the next 2-12 years. Of all the things on your bed – the mattress, the pads, the comforters, the sheets and your pillow is the most important. With that being said the price difference between a good pillow and a great pillow, we’d suggest a higher quality pillow that is smaller sized (jumbo) then being forced to buy a king size of a cheaper model.

Comforter or Duvet?

Most American consumers call article of bedding that you sleep under a comforter. When abroad or even in the hospitality industry a comforter is called a duvet insert. So when searching for a comforter you will likely see it on our web site referenced as a comforter. To most American consumers a Duvet is the decorative protector used in combination with a comforter. A duvet is a comforter protector that covers a comforter and is closed via buttons or a zipper. When it comes time to launder the bedding – the duvet can be removed for easy cleaning and the comforter has to be washed less.

Feathers or Down?

Down is the light fluffy coating beneath the feathers of ducks and geese. Each down cluster is made from thousands of tiny fibers, like little cotton balls between the bird's skin and feathers. Mother Nature created down to keep water fowl dry and warm when they swim around in the water. One down comforter provides the warmth and temperature control of 14 wool blankets, but because of down's natural ability to pull moisture away from the skin you never wake up hot and clammy in the middle of the night.

High quality down comes only from ducks and geese. Chickens and other birds do not produce down because they do not spend a significant portion of their lives in the water. 85% of the world's production of down and feathers comes from Asia; the remaining 15% is generally produced in Eastern Europe. Farmers who raise ducks and geese for their meat sell the unprocessed feathers and down to processing companies around the world, so no usable part of the bird is wasted.

Down clusters are naturally very durable, it is not uncommon for people to use a down bedding product for a dozen years or more before replacing it. Down is also naturally flame retardant, making it an excellent choice for safe sleeping.

Down and feathers come in various shades ranging from pure white to black speckled gray. There is a premium on pure white down and feathers because of their ability to visually blend better when filled into white bedding products, but the color does not affect the down's loft or warmth. As consumer taste for lighter bird meat increases, white down and feathers are becoming more abundant.

Blanket or Comforter?

DOWNLITE primarily makes filled bedding so on our site we have two top of bed options – comforters and blankets.

A comforter is usually filled with down or down alternative and has stitched boxes ranging in size from 10 inches to 16 inches. The larger the box size the higher the fill power or more filling is needed to keep the square fluffy. Comforters are generally best suited for fall/winter usage as they tend to be better in heat retention when compared to a blanket.

A blanket is usually filled with down or down alternative and features smaller stitched boxes ranging in size from 4 to 6 inches. Blankets typically are larger than comforters as they are meant to be tucked under the mattress for a hotel look. Blankets frequently have a decorative element such as satin binding or a self-flange. Blankets are a great summer weight bedding option. They can be paired with a comforter in winter for extra warmth. Most blankets are machine washable in a home washing machine set up.

Feather Bed or Mattress Pad?

A feather bed is a bedding item used on top of your mattress and is filled with a blend of down and feathers. Some feather beds feature a top layer whether it be down topped or polyester pillow topped. Feather beds generally are 3 to 5 inches in height and feature baffle box chambers to keep the fill separated and easier to fluff and maintain.

A mattress pad is generally used over your mattress and features a stretchable skirt or sometimes anchor bands to keep it in place. Typically mattress pads are no thicker than one inch. Mattress pads also can feature special treatments such as a water resistant layer.

Mattress pads protect your mattress while feather beds or fiber beds add fluffy comfort.

A feather bed and a mattress pad can be used together based on the size of the mattress pad skirt or anchor bands. The average consumer mattress is appx 12 inches in height. So if you have a feather bed on top of your mattress your mattress pad can be applied on top of the feather bed if it has a skirt that is appx 16 inches or more in height. If your mattress pad has a smaller skirt you can place it over your mattress and below your feather bed. As another option if you have a down topped feather bed you might not want to interfere with the softness of the down material and keep your mattress pad below your feather bed. If you have a dog, baby or generally spill items in your bed frequently you might want to opt to keep a water resistant mattress pad on top of your feather bed. Generally feather beds are not machine washable due to their size and should be spot cleaned. We do recommend adding a feather bed protector when buying a feather bed or even to cover an older feather bed and extend its life.